Outdoor winter party ideas to make the most of the cold season

The holidays might be over, but that doesn’t mean the parties have to end – in fact, this dreary time of year is all the more reason to invite a few friends over and indulge in some fun on the weekends. -end. However, a pandemic remains very present among us; So if you’re interested in having a party and know it’s safe to do so, it’s probably best to have it outside. Yes, temperatures are freezing in much of the country, which makes this a tricky proposition. But according to the experts TZR spoke to: With the right ideas and tips for outdoor winter parties, you can turn what would be an uncomfortable evening in the cold into a comfortable night you’ll remember.

In fact, winter parties in the elements can be as stylish and fun as any fancy dinner party or elegant cocktail party. The key? Focus on comfort and embrace rusticity.

Keeping guests warm – and there are a number of ways you can do this, according to frequent hosts and entertainment professionals. Also, have no less fun with the activities and decorating than you normally would. The great outdoors provide opportunities that the interior of a home simply doesn’t, so lean into bonfires, crafts, and nature in general.

Don’t let your fear of the cold keep you from having the outdoor winter party of your dreams this year. With expert-approved advice, you can throw one that you and your guests will actually enjoy – and never forget.

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Adopt the bonfire theme

As Alexandra Davin, co-founder of the online interior design and decorating courses called Clairrow, notes, there’s always the classic idea of ​​an outdoor bonfire. “Serve dishes that can incorporate fire as part of the experience. Try kebabs or hot dogs, campfire nachos in a cast iron skillet or s’mores bar for dessert. The bonfire can also serve as an activity for your guests, she continues, while they use it to warm up.

Create an interior-exterior situation

Those outdoor dining options that have popped up because of the pandemic? Alexandra recommends taking inspiration from it with your own version, whether with a tent, a gazebo, or whatever.

“Set up bistro tables with tablecloths and candles, enhance the ambiance with flowers on the walls and ceiling, and add portable heaters to create an indoor / outdoor oasis,” she explains. “A similar idea are portable igloos; I saw them for sale on Amazon. Buy an igloo tent and set it up with plush seating and string lights, so your guests can have a great place to relax when they need a break from the cold outside.

Serve hot food and drinks

Sylvia Fountaine, Chef and CEO and Founder of Feasting at Home, says keeping food “easy to eat, hot and interactive” is key to a good outdoor winter party menu. “The last thing you want is for your guests to try to balance a plate or use cutlery with their mittens, so stick to the food in their hands,” she explains.

His suggestion? Serve hot cups of soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. “Just place a hotplate on your barbecue and fry hot sandwiches and pour each guest a hot cup of soup into a thermos,” says Fountaine. “It will also keep their hands warm and can be eaten without removing the mittens. This option is also highly customizable, so you can make the meal as gourmet or as classic as you want. “Some of my guests’ favorite options include aged cheddar with green apple slices or brie with cranberry compote and thyme. »What about the thermos? “Follow you to creamy soups and to dip like mashed fire roasted tomatoes or butternut squash for guests to dip in their grilled cheese.” “

Then, for dessert: “Obviously mulled wine or spiced apple cider!” Again, you can prepare it ahead of time and pour it out to guests throughout the evening, or better yet, have a table for hot drinks that guests can pour into thermos themselves ”, explains the CEO of Feasting at Home. “Alcohol is optional but highly recommended for late nights around a cozy outdoor fireplace.”

Incorporate heat in several ways

When it’s cold outside, you want to make sure your guests have plenty of ways to warm up. According to Sheva Knopfler, co-founder of Lights.com, this should definitely include heaters and blankets suitable for the outdoors. Clairrow co-founder Catherine Davin agrees – she says she recently attended a super cozy event that she described as “wonderful” thanks to the blankets on the backs of each chair and the propane heaters. central to many assembly areas.

Of course, there are plenty of ways to get creative as well. “I shamelessly love it when there are rubber rocking baskets at a wedding when the dancing starts, because my heels always kill me at that time of night,” says Alexandra. “Incorporate this same idea into your winter party theme and set up large baskets of mittens, scarves and socks for your guests to use, then take them home as party favors. Black Southern Belle’s Michiel Perry shares a similar idea, but suggests taking it a step further. “When hosting an outdoor party in cooler weather, make the attire part of the festivities by providing each guest with matching scarves, hats and gloves that complement the theme or colors of the party.”

And don’t forget to make sure your atmosphere is as warm as the temperatures, while always keeping safety in mind. “To keep a cozy atmosphere without dangerous flames, try flameless lanterns and outdoor candles,” says Knopfler. “The flameless decoration gives your guests the illusion of a warm candlelight atmosphere without the risk of fire. “

Take a rustic (and functional) approach to decorating

It might be cold outside, but Catherine still “absolutely” recommends decorating. “I would go for a more rustic après-ski approach,” she tells TZR. “Add fairy lights, cozy fur throws, and candelabras with real candles. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have a greenhouse or veranda, “turn it into a party space for the evening and incorporate plants and natural elements into your decor,” she continues.

According to Perry, it’s important to make sure your decor isn’t just cute, but functional as well. “I think using decor items that also double for warmth is a great option,” she says. So, instead of chair covers? Use blankets. Set up an outdoor tent? Decorate a wall with hats, gloves and scarves for the guests. “Decorating a winter party is about adding functionality and embracing the beauty of winter while staying warm,” she continues.

Involve the guests

With low temperatures, it can be too easy for customers to get cold, leave and return home. So, make an effort to plan activities that will keep them involved. Perry reiterates the idea of ​​using a bonfire as an activity and recommends cooking food in groups “like baking s’mores or decorating cookies” to make it a more fun event.

However, there’s no need to stop at the food – think outside the box when it comes to adding fun to the day. “Decorate winter wreaths, whip up a hot cocktail with a bartender, or have a garden-inspired photo space near the fire pit or hot chocolate station to keep guests involved but also warm!” said Perry.

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